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Invitation to World Literature

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The God of Small Things (30:00)

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This video introduces the world of caste, where people are born into a certain level of society and mingle with others on pain of death. You'll see a culture struggling with the burdens of the past yet reaching for a new future, and hear from passionate readers of the novel.

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Speakers in the video

Evelyn Nien-Ming Ch'ien
Evelyn Nien-Ming Ch'ien
Author, Weird English
Dr. Ch'ien is associate professor of English at the University of Minnesota and a core faculty member of the Asian American Studies program there. Her recent book Weird English describes the ways in which a variety of contemporary authors play with syntax, grammar, and orthography to invent new language. In the classroom she teaches multicultural literature, Asian diaspora literature, and hip-hop composition and literature.
Catherine Cusset
Catherine Cusset
Novelist
Dr. Cusset is an eighteenth-century French literature scholar. She taught at Yale University from 1991-2002. Since leaving academia, she has become a successful novelist in her native France; her books include En Toute Innocence, La Haine de la Famille and most recently, Un Brillant Avenir, which won the prestigious literary prize the Prix de Goncourt.
David Damrosch
David Damrosch
Professor of Comparative Literature, Harvard University
Dr. Damrosch is professor of comparative literature at Harvard University and the author of several books, including What Is World Literature?
Simon Gikandi
Simon Gikandi
Professor of English, Princeton University
Dr. Gikandi graduated with a degree in literature from the University of Nairobi, was a British Council Scholar at the University of Edinburgh, and received his Ph.D. in English from Northwestern University. His major fields of research and teaching are the anglophone literatures and cultures of Africa, India, the Caribbean, postcolonial Britain, the "Black" Atlantic, and the African Diaspora.
Pico Iyer
Pico Iyer
Author, The Global Soul
Mr. Iyer is a respected travel writer whose essays, reviews, and other writings have appeared in Time, Condé Nast Traveler, Harper's, The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, and Salon.com. His books include Video Night in Kathmandu, Falling off the Map, Tropical Classical, and The Global Soul.
Arundhati Roy
Arundhati Roy
Author, The God of Small Things
Ms. Roy was born in Shillong, Meghalaya, India, to the Keralite Syrian Christian and political activist Mary Roy. She studied architecture at the School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi and worked as a screenwriter and actress. Her first novel, The God of Small Things, won the Booker Prize in 1997. She has since dedicated her writing to social and political activism, winning the Sydney Peace Prize in 2004.
Faith Salie
Faith Salie
Cultural Critic
Actress, journalist, commentator for CBS's Sunday Morning, and a regular on the NPR game show, Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, Ms. Salie is a former radio show host and executive producer of Fair Game with Faith Salie. She is a Harvard graduate and Rhodes Scholar.